The Divine Trickster
If any of the warriors guarding the Temple of Hades noticed the lithe figure of Fyra Silvereye nimbly darting across the city’s rooftops, they made no indication of the fact. She silently alighted on the dark marble of the vaulted temple, pausing a moment in silent contemplation. The moment of stillness had duel purposes: to verify that her arrival had gone unheard as well as to mentally thank her goddess Tyche for her safety.
Certain that she remained undetected, she seized up the tiny windows that ringed the temple’s main hall; they would be a tight fit for her, but she was well-trained by her elders in the art of contortion. She would get through, with Tyche’s aid. But she was more concerned by the magical sigils she spied adorning each window. Fyra withdrew from a pouch a special magical paint she used in such emergencies, and she carefully painted over a few key portions of the mystic ward. There was no way to test her success, however, other than to pass over the sigil and pray to her goddess for luck. She held her breath as she moved her foot toward the trap, hoping for the best but prepared for a hasty escape should the sigil explode.
Nothing. She had disarmed the sigil. With another happy (but silent) prayer of thanks to Tyche, she squeezed through the window and perched at the top of the sanctuary. The hall was an eyesore compared to the blue-and-gold color scheme of her home temple, with black and white banners harshly suggesting death itself. She hated it, but had no time to consider décor at the moment. The object of her mission could be seen below: a young halfling girl sat in a cage near the altar, weeping, set to be sacrificed to Hades in the morn. But directly before the cage stood two abominations: corpses given unholy power to fight for Hades after death. The pair of skeletal remains stood ready and alert, and she knew they would never tire or drop their guard. Further, a large gong stood near the left one, and she had no doubt they had instructions to sound it before attacking any intruders.
She quietly slid down to floor, and drew a pair of silver daggers, each blessed by Tyche and anointed with holy water. She meditated briefly and felt the familiar rush of positive energy flow through her body; she knew that if she could see herself at this point, her eyes would be afire with a pure white glow. Confident her goddess was with her, Fyra stepped out and flung her first dagger at one of the zombies. The blessed weapon struck true, and burst in a flash of positive energy. The corpse silently disintegrated as Fyra hurled her second dagger. Another strobe of white light left the second undead in the same state. Both down before they could raise the alarm? Tyche was with her tonight.
Of course, the halfling almost gave away her presence with profusions of thanks, but a slender finger to her lips quieted the girl. Fyra easily picked the lock on the cage, and then spoke a low prayer. She reached and touched the halfling, who disappeared from sight under Tyche’s blessing. She then invoked the same prayer for her own benefit, and started leading the halfling towards the temple exit.
At the last moment, though, she had an idea, and smiled invisibly to herself. Cautioning the halfling to wait for her, she returned to the altar and engaged in a bit of redecorating after all. She hurried back to the girl, and the pair invisibly walked right out the front door.
The next morning, the high priest of Hades was angry to learn the planned sacrifice had escaped, but his anger turned to white-hot rage when he entered the temple hall to see, in large painted letters, a personal message from Fyra Silvereye:
“Hades can SUCK IT!”
In a polytheistic world, not all churches are formal patrician organizations that teach rigid dogma and rules of behavior. Many gods have more relaxed attitudes towards the world and their followers, and some clerics even actively use the tools of stealth and deception to further the aims of their gods. Known as divine tricksters, these secret agents of the church engage in top-secret missions against enemy religions under cover of night.
The Divine Trickster
Alignment: Any nonlawful.
Skills: Bluff 9 ranks, Hide 9 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks, Disable Device 4 ranks.
Spells: Ability to cast 2nd level divine spells from the Chaos, Luck, or Trickery domains.
Special: Sneak Attack +2d6 class ability, Turn Undead class ability.
The divine trickster’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Cha), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Search (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Languages (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier.
Hit Dice: d6
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: The divine trickster gains no additional armor or weapon proficiencies.
Spells per Day: When a new divine trickster level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (such as increased ability to turn undead or take wild shape, or domain powers that are based on cleric level), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class before becoming a divine trickster, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.
Surprise for the Dead (Su): The divine trickster learns to channel positive energy into a nasty surprise for undead who let their guard down. As a free action, the divine trickster may expend one daily use of her Turn Undead ability in order to gain the ability to make sneak attacks or critical hits against undead creatures. This effect last for 1 round per point of Charisma bonus the divine trickster has (minimum 1 round), and applies to all attacks made within that time. The trickster must still meet all conditions for a successful sneaks attack; that is, the undead must still be flat-footed, flanked, or otherwise eligible for a sneak attack, and must be within 30 feet of the trickster if the attack is ranged. In addition, the divine trickster may only make sneak attacks or critical hits against incorporeal undead creature if she is wielding a ghost touch weapon or is herself incorporeal.
Sneak Attack (Ex): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th). If a divine trickster gets a sneak attack bonus from another source, the bonuses on damage stack.
Trap Guidance (Su): The divine trickster gains special intuition into magical traps; at 3rd level, she may add her Wisdom bonus to all Search, Spellcraft, and Disable Device skill checks to find, identify, or remove magical traps.
Domain Flexibility (Su): Select one of the following domains to which the character has access: Chaos, Luck, or Trickery. The trickster may spontaneously convert any prepared cleric spell (except a domain spell) into a domain spell of the same level or lower in the selected domain, just as a cleric channels energy to convert spells into cure spells.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): The divine force the trickster serves subtly distracts nearby creatures from looking in her direction. Starting at 7th level, the divine trickster can use the Hide skill even when being observed.
Slippery Mind (Su): This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name, except that it is a supernatural rather than extraordinary ability.
Restrictions: The divine trickster is obligated to uphold whatever beliefs or mandates are given by the force that provides her divine spellcasting power; failure to do so will cause her to lose her supernatural abilities as she would her ability to cast spells.
Hit Dice: d6
Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier
Spellcasting: At every additional level after 10th, the divine trickster advances in spellcasting power, as described above.
Sneak Attack: At every additional even-numbered level after 10th, the divine trickster’s sneak attack damage increases by +1d6.
Bonus Feats: At 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the divine trickster gains a bonus epic feat, selected from the list of epic divine trickster feats.
Epic Divine Trickster Bonus Feat List: Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Blinding Speed, Bonus Domain, Dexterous Fortitude, Dexterous Will, Epic Reflexes, Epic Reputation, Epic Speed, Epic Will, Improved Alignment-Based Casting (Chaos only), Improved Sneak Attack, Improved Spell Capacity, Positive Energy Aura, Spectral Strike, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Trap Sense.
Design Notes: The obvious comparison here is to the Arcane Trickster, which inspired this class. The wizard/rogue multiclass combination, however, has far more synergy than does a cleric/rogue. Rogues benefit more from a high Intelligence than a high Wisdom, and the cleric/rogue will find himself unable to use the cleric’s medium or heavy armor proficiencies if he intends to make use of many of the rogue’s class skills. Also, few of the cleric’s standard spells have much bearing on the character’s stealth capabilities, as opposed to the wizard/rogue’s potential for illusion magic. As a result, I decided the entry to this class needed to come a bit sooner than the Arcane Trickster’s minimum 9th level starting point, so that the character did not need to labor so long with non-complimentary abilities. I thus lowered the spellcasting requirement for access down to 2nd-level spells. With the sneak attack and skill requirements, a character can become a Divine Trickster as his 7th character level. Surprise for the Dead is a way to have the cleric somehow continue to be valuable against undead despite not gaining turning improvements. The class’ most powerful ability is probably Domain Flexibility, which will let the Trickster really fulfill his role as a deception-based caster if he picks Trickery. It comes so early in the class because without it, he’s limited to only a small handful of sneaky spells per day, thanks to the cleric spell list. However, I don’t think there’s much chance of a character abandoning this class after 5th level due to the favorable progression of both spellcasting and sneak attack. In return, he loses hit points compared to the cleric and skill points compared to the rogue, as well as the loss of rogue special abilities.
Oddly, there have been several official prestige classes seeking to reconcile rogue/cleric multiclass characters, but none with a simple progression like this one. Usually, they seem to get caught up on trying to flavor themselves too strongly toward one specific church or organization. I think this class is pretty straightforward and easy to adapt to any campaign. And there have certainly been rules published for using Sneak Attack on the undead that are more powerful than the classes' most powerful ability, Surprise for the Dead (one of which, Penetrating Strike, was in Dungeonscape, though not in a chapter I wrote). In fact, while it may have been a touch powerful at the time I wrote it, power creep in the game has caught up to it such that I think it would fit in fine without alteration now.